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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-03-25

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece, US discuss Balkans, Cyprus issue during Washington talks
  • [02] Nation celebrates 184th anniversary of Greek War of Independence
  • [03] Bush proclamation honors Greek Independence Day
  • [04] Gov't reiterates that it will defend constitution vis-a-vis Commission reservations on media ownership

  • [01] Greece, US discuss Balkans, Cyprus issue during Washington talks

    The 'excellent state' of Greek-American relations, according to visiting Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, was reiterated in Washington during a joint press conference on Thursday afternoon following talks by the two sides.

    Expectedly, the long-standing Cyprus issue, recent Balkan developments and all-important Greek-Turkish relations dominated the talks between the two long-time allies.

    "We, of course, discussed the Balkans and the Mediterranean and we greeted with satisfaction this mobility towards the spread of democracy and freedom in many parts of the world. I think (US) President (George W.) Bush has reasons to be quite happy these days," Molyviatis said, adding:

    "Also, we discussed, of course, Cyprus and we considered ways in which we can promote our common objective, which is the reunification of the island ... through negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan. And, frankly, I could say that we have both agreed to further strengthen our cooperation in all fields," the veteran Greek diplomat said.

    On her part, Rice noted that "we had an opportunity to review the excellent state of relations between Greece and the United States, the outstanding bilateral relationship that we have, and also our joint desire and commitment for the spread of democracy and freedom throughout the world."

    "Greece has been a strong supporter of the work that we are doing in the broader Middle East, in Afghanistan, in supporting the people of Iraq, as they are concerned and looking forward to a better future based on the elections that they've had," Rice, who took over from Colin Powell as America's top diplomat in the second Bush administration, added.

    She also said discussions focused on the Balkans, noting that "great progress" has been made although "many challenges yet to meet".

    "And we have no better friend in meeting these and other challenges than our friends in Greece," Rice emphasised.

    [02] Nation celebrates 184th anniversary of Greek War of Independence

    The Greek nation on Friday celebrated the 184th anniversary of the beginning of the 1821 War of Independence with events and celebrations held around the country and by expatriate communities around the world, including the customary military parade through downtown Athens before the country's leadership, foreign envoys and thousands of spectators.

    Pupils and students paraded in practically every school district over the two-day period, as the weather 'cooperated' throughout Greece. Additionally, the annual March 25 memorial service for the War of Independence fallen was held at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, attended by new President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, and officiated by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos.

    Papoulias later laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier -- in front of Parliament -- prior to the start of the all-branch military parade.

    Besides the national holiday, March 25 marks a significant religious holiday in the predominately Orthodox Christian country, the Feast of the Annunciation.

    In terms of the three-day weekend rush, authorities reported heavy traffic on both main highways leading out of the greater Athens area, with backed up traffic recorded on the Athens-Corinth roadway.

    [03] Bush proclamation honors Greek Independence Day

    US President George W. Bush on Thursday issued a traditional presidential proclamation honoring Greek Independence Day on March 25, while a special ceremony for the occasion will be held on Monday at the White House in the presence of visiting Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis and Archbishop of America Demetrios, among others.

    The US presidentās proclamation reads:

    ?Well before modern Greece gained her independence, the ancient Athenians adopted democratic principles that guided their society. These principles inspired our Founding Fathers to proclaim the imperative of self-government as they worked to build our great Nation. America's love for liberty has deep roots in the spirit of Greece. On Greek Independence Day, we celebrate our special ties of friendship, history, and shared values with Greece.

    ?Our country has welcomed generations of Greek immigrants, and we are grateful for their talents, wisdom, and creativity. We honor the Greek spirit that values family and education, public service and faith. Greek Americans have made a mark in every field -- enhancing our culture, enriching our commerce, and defending our freedom. Their strong record of public service has also strengthened our democracy, and their contributions have made America a better place.

    ?As we address the challenges of the 21st century, the United States and Greece remain committed partners in the vital work of advancing freedom and democracy. Our two Nations are founded on shared ideals of liberty, and we are working together to advance those ideals across the world today.

    ?Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 25, 2005, as Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.?

    [04] Gov't reiterates that it will defend constitution vis-a-vis Commission reservations on media ownership

    The "marathon" issue of the government's intent to stiffen media ownership rules amid EU Commission reservations -- made official this past week -- over a constitutional article and a pair of executive laws, including the ubiquitous 'primary shareholder' law, again dominated a press conference given by the government spokesman on Thursday, with Minister of State Thodoris Roussopoulos fielding a cascade of questions on the subject.

    "We're struggling in favor of transparency and against vested interests. The battle is continuing," Roussopoulos told reporters hours after his return from Brussels, where he accompanied the premier during an EU summit.

    In the bluntest terms so far, the Greek minister said a letter by EU Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, Charlie McCreevy, does, in fact, challenge the country's constitution.

    At the same time, he expressed his satisfaction that the two smaller parties in Parliament, the Communist Party (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos), back the government's intent to defend the constitution in the face of the Commission's expressed reservations.

    "The constitutional lawmaker says that whatever media owner wants a contract with the public sector cannot obtain one if he is a primary shareholder in mass media. The constitutional lawmaker -- with the vote of the two largest parties (PASOK and ND) -- wanted to block the practice under which entrepreneurs used the media to possibly influence the awarding of state contracts," Roussopoulos explained.

    Furthermore, he emphasised that the Karamanlis government has no intention of calling early elections, in response to a press question citing statements to that effect by a ND deputy a day earlier.

    "Besides, the battle against vested interests doesn't end, because this is what Greek citizens are expecting from the government," he said.


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